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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Soapbox: Weddings

This Sunday the youngest of my five daughters is getting married.  She is the youngest of my first family, the family my [ex]husband and I had, my family before I added four more. Some of you probably can barely imagine your children old enough to marry. Some may be there now or soon.  Like everything else, weddings have changed.

My wedding was in 1970. [shortly after dinosaurs roamed the earth if you ask my gremlins] My parents and his parents each made a list of guests and then he and I added some of our friends to the list.  My parents paid for the wedding [and they set the budget].  His parents paid for the rehearsal dinner.  I wore a long dress with long sleeves and my bridesmaids wore long above the elbow gloves.  I was radical because I chose white dresses [with colored trim] for my bridesmaids and did not include "obey" in my vows.  Keeping my maiden name was not even a consideration. We had to not only get a license, but take and pass blood tests in order to get the license. We got married in my hometown church, as almost everyone did then. [There were a few daring types who got married in fields in long musline dresses with flower wreaths in their hair but they were still the extreme, a trend just beginning.]

I fretted and wondered and worried about the honeymoon because, like "good girls" were supposed to, I had "waited" for marriage. I think my mother and I had had "the talk" though I don't remember it, and I had been given a booklet for brides and grooms [reading it now is laughable!], but even my married girlfriends would never discuss "that" sort of thing.

I got married 5 days after my college graduation and moved 5 states away to where my husband lived, rarely to return to my hometown. Married at 21, most of my friends were already married or marrying that year.  When I did not have a child for four more years, people were worried [including us] that something was wrong. At 25 I was the last of my circle to have a first child and people had been genuinely convinced I was either unable to bear children or that we had chosen not to have children.

So, all in all, I clearly was married in the dark ages.  Weddings, couples, and marriages are very different now and will continue to change as my grandchildren grow and marry.  But, the wonderful news is that they still feature two people deeply in love, eager to spend the rest of their lives together, full of joyful expectations, and with families that love them, and share their joy.

I am very blessed that my children have found [or been found by] life partners who bring them love, joy, and occasional silliness that will help them through the tough days that are a part of life. I enjoy their husbands and I enjoy what my children are with their husbands.  I delight to seeing them start family units of their own, with and without children, with a mixture of traditions borrowed and new, tweaked and adjusted, as they build their own adult lives.  I hope those aspects of marriage never change.

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